This is according to Chairperson of Parliament’s select Committee on Social Services, Cathy Dlamini, who is in the province along with other committee members this week to assess progress made to the healthcare system. She told OFM News that the Health Department informed the committee that they had procured about 60 ambulances, but were struggling to hire qualified paramedics, resulting in delays.
The provincial health department has come under fire for making use of private emergency medical services, notably Buthelezi Ambulances. MEC of Health, Montsheng Tsiu, has maintained the department battles to meet all its health demands in the province with its own fleet, hence the outsourcing.
Dlamini says the department is in the process of hiring 500 security personnel to ensure patients and medical practitioners are safe, after receiving complaints last year from nurses over safety concerns. Dlamini noted that other improvements had been made, but cautioned that there were many challenges that remained. She says the department has also purchased medical equipment to deal with shortages.
Dlamini admits some of the problems the department is facing, require long-term planning and intervention and the committee wants to see a clear plan with timeframes from the department, regarding those long-term challenges. She says the department, however, could not provide a clear plan during the briefing held earlier today.
Today, the committee will be in Bloemfontein to determine how far the provincial department is in implementing the promises made during last year’s Taking Parliament to the People programme by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
Olebogeng Motse / OFM News